Inter made it three wins out of three thanks to Stefano Sensi’s header, but it was an uninspired performance after Rodrigo De Paul’s foolish red card for Udinese.
Diego Godin made his first start and Stefan de Vrij returned from injury, while Stefano Sensi and Nicolò Barella shared the midfield after their Italy exploits. The Friulani had De Paul supporting Kevin Lasagna, with Watford loaner Ken Sema on the left flank, but Stefano Okaka and William Troost-Ekong unavailable.
Inter had kept three consecutive clean sheets with Udinese going into this game.
Matteo Politano was tested in a new more advanced role and within four minutes his fierce snapshot had bounced off the base of the far post.
Sensi’s ferocious volley was acrobatically palmed out from under the bar by Juan Musso. A free kick was knocked down for Walace to test Samir Handanovic and Nicolò Barella was booked for a lunge on De Paul.
It was a very even match, but Udinese shot themselves in the foot with a moment of utter madness. On 35 minutes, Antonio Candreva shouted at De Paul and wagged a finger in his face, but the Argentine responded with a slap on the back of the head. Candreva made the most of it and in the age of VAR, that was incredibly stupid, resulting in a red card for Udinese’s best player.
Politano drilled a free kick under the wall, with Musso pushing it round the post, but this situation just prompted Udinese to double down on their already defensive approach.
Inter broke the deadlock just before half-time with Sensi again on target. The Italy international got in front of Rodrigo Becao for a well-taken glancing header on Diego Godin’s cross from the right, turning it under the bar from close range.
It was difficult to tell Udinese were down to 10 men, as Kevin Lasagna chested down a long ball, held off Godin and got the shot away, forcing Handanovic to palm it out from under the bar.
Politano cut inside from the right and tested Musso at the near bottom corner, while the goalkeeper also fingertipped substitute Roberto Gagliardini’s effort over.
Romelu Lukaku scored in both his first two Serie A games, but barely touched the ball against Udinese, so made way for Lautaro Martinez, fresh from his Argentina hat-trick with Mexico.
Gagliardini drilled just wide from distance and Musso fingertipped a Sensi free kick out of the near top corner. Alexis Sanchez made his Inter debut for the final 11 minutes against the side that first brought him to Italy and indeed Europe in 2008.
The former Manchester United flop almost scored within moments of coming on, but Musso again showed remarkable reflexes to deny him from point-blank range on a Candreva assist.
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Sent off: De Paul 35 (U)